I’ve always hated the phrase, “go big or go home”.
Even though it’s often said in an off-the-cuff way, and doesn’t necessarily need to be serious, I find it’s often said with an undercurrent of punishment – as though, if you don’t go ‘big enough’ (whatever that means), you will be sent home, like a child sent to their room for disobedience. I dislike the tone that implies there is a ‘big enough’ that could be externally determined. I dislike the idea that we are not allowed to try ‘small’ things, or in ‘small’ ways. I dislike the implication that, if we don’t ‘go big’, we shouldn’t try at all.
For a long time I simply had a subtle, or slightly unconscious, negative reaction to hearing this phrase, but several years ago I decided to truly look at it to discover what bothered me – as well as create my own alternative: “Come Home to Go Big”.
While “Come Home to Go Big” might be a catchy sound byte, I want to tease apart some of the pieces of this alternative phrasing, and hopefully make it practical.
Going home shouldn’t be viewed as a punishment
Personally, I’m not big on punishment as a motivator – full stop. And, I really don’t like the idea that going home is a punishment.
I love my home. It’s a safe space for me. I enjoy my time at home. And I would hope that everybody feels safe & loves being in their own home. My desire for all humans is to create a beautiful home that you love being in, somewhere that makes you feel safe, and that calls to you at least as much as any vacation destination.
Secondly, I really dislike the built-in idea about what is considered “big” or what is good enough in terms of effort. If we’re not playing “big”, then are we automatically playing “small”?
Playing “big” is really playing “me-sized”
When we encourage people to ‘go big’ or ‘play big’, rather than ‘me-sized’, we perpetuate the notion that who we are is not enough.
Rather than ‘playing big, I invite you to try to orient your thinking towards the idea of being “right-sized”. For example, when I am contemplating a creation or desire, I consider what is Kendra-sized? What is the ‘Kendra-sized’ space I am meant to be in the world? It doesn’t matter if something is “big” or ‘small’ for someone else; if it doesn’t fit me, it’s not MY right size.
Consider what it would actually be like to invite yourself into a you-sized space in the world. One where you aren’t attempting to take up less space, or to be less loud, or to be physically smaller; but also one in which you aren’t attempting to take up more space, be louder, or ‘bigger’ than right-sized you truly is.
Our current culture points aggressively to the idea of ‘playing small’, but both attempting to shrink & attempting to puff ourselves up come from the same energetic dissonance that says it’s not OK to simply be the exact size (physical, energetic, emotional, etc…) we actually are.
The truth is, we are always our own size. So what would it be like to actually rest inside that space instead of attempting to take up more or less space in some way?
Of course, this isn’t to say that there aren’t times when you need to lean into the idea of being louder, or taking up more physical space, such as during a confrontation or when making yourself heard at work. But this isn’t actually you taking up “more” space, it’s you leaning into the space you deserve and that you should be taking up. It’s actually just the correct size at that moment.
“Going big at all costs” shouldn’t be the expected behaviour
I think that we, as humans, can find a place that’s neither playing small nor playing big, but instead playing the “correct” size. It’s a very different perspective to come from individually, but I think we can all find our own right place within the ecosystem of our lives – which includes our family, family of origin, place, culture, etc…
To apply this idea, try to look at different situations in your life and find where those times are when you attempt to puff up and take up more than your own space, and conversely, when you try to shrink yourself and twist yourself down in order to take up less size.
The key here is that you are the only one who can determine what the right size is for you. I dislike the idea that “big” is something that any of us could judge. While close & trusted friends and mentors can help, nobody outside of myself can judge what is big or small – they don’t have that right.
You aren’t limiting yourself by not dreaming bigger
We often hear (or tell ourselves) things like, “dream bigger”. But I find that this way of thinking isn’t actually helpful. It often only serves to make us more miserable. Instead, try to truly look at what size, or space, you truly want to occupy in different situations. What feels right to you?
In my programs I often like to say #gosmaller, as a way to counteract the habit I see of people over-extending themselves into dreams & aspirations that are not truly theirs. When we start where we actually are, and begin with the smallest steps, it is extraordinary how ‘big’ we can actually go.
Of course, we don’t need to stop dreaming or desiring for more in our lives – dreaming big can be an incredible practice along the way, but it’s important that we don’t judge our True Desires for not seeming ‘big’ enough – usually by some external reference point. We don’t need to attempt to want less than we truly do or to be smaller because we think we don’t “need” what we have, but we also don’t need to fall forwards into dreams or visions or aspirations that were fed to us, and that we don’t actually want or don’t actually fit us correctly.
Come home to go big
When I rest inside my own skin & my own life, in my right-sized space, if I come home to the truth of my being, then I can understand what I actually want, and how it compares to what is actually in front of me.
When we actually come home to ourselves, by which I mean we come home to our own thoughts, feelings, experiences, sensations & desires, which actually requires a lot of space and quiet, and limiting input from so many external sources, I find that many – if not most – people really don’t know what they think, feel, or want. It takes time & space to come home to ourselves, and to allow our true & right-sized desires to arise.
I invite you to think about what you think you want, and then to follow the thread of awareness to understand where those desires came from. Can you pinpoint why you decided you want something? Where is that input source? Then, if we take out those external sources, what is left? What is actually inside your own heart and your own brain? Sometimes, of course, you will discover that your dreams & desires are truly self-originated! But, often, people find they have taken on so many other people’s thoughts & ideas that it’s hard to know what is right-sized for them.
We talk a lot in this line of work about intuition and trusting our gut, but so much of that is related to emotions and how we feel, which are unavoidably impacted by external inputs. We make things feel right to ourselves by falsely reinforcing ideas we initially heard elsewhere, and we trick ourselves into thinking we came up with those ideas and those thoughts ourselves. Cognitive bias is not primarily cognitive, but is deeply emotion-driven.
Try to ask yourself, what is even there when I’m not always inputting new information and reinforcing existing ideas with other sources? What happens when I come home to myself and just sit with myself? Where do I come back to? What holds me?
“Home” doesn’t have to be solitary
I believe it is important to be able to sit within our own minds and our own hearts, listening to find out what’s even here. However, there’s also an important idea that “home” could be with others. It could include our family, and our communities, and any other spaces where we feel completely free or relaxed and able to be ourselves.
The first step to a “better” life is being comfortable with the one you already have
The saying “Go Big or Go Home” often leads us to imagine that there is some life outside of the one we already have, a life that’s better in some way.
I’m not saying to ‘settle’, or just be satisfied with exactly what we have, without ever dreaming beyond that – but, also, we also don’t have to be constantly aiming higher and higher and jumping ahead. There is so much richness already right here, in the space we are already inhabiting.
I do not believe that there is a “better” life that’s more “you”. I have also found, time & time again, that anything you want to shift in your life, or any place that helps you move forwards on your desired path, begins 100% from exactly where you’re sitting now. We go so much farther when we stop resisting & avoiding where we actually are.
People often create what externally looks like success, but then they look around and they realize they don’t know who they are. They don’t know who their community is, or what their purpose is. They don’t even know if they’re happy, because their life has been solely completed within the space of leaving themselves – often through ‘dreaming bigger’. They realize they had to completely bypass their lives in order to get to where they were, and so now to find out who they are they have to fully dismantle what they’ve built.
The above method often looks, from the outside, like the ‘fast track’ to success. But, the truth is, this path of bypassing ourselves for ‘success’, is actually so much less efficient because people so often have to start all over once you’ve reached that “success”, and discover who they actually are. I have witnessed so many people struggle in this way, and the pain they go through is not to be envied.
Forget “Big”: Come Home to Go “Full”
What is the me-sized life that you want? What is the me-sized dream that you dream? Can you look at your life and feel comfortable knowing that it’s the right size for you, right now? Even if it’s not where you ultimately want to be, do you know what the next me-sized step is?
The beauty is that when you do get to this place, not only will your life actually be and feel big all the time, but also, every moment when you’re actually “here” becomes so much more alive and full. We suddenly find ourselves with so much more power to slightly shift ourselves, at any point, towards the direction that we most deeply want. This is Fulfillment, and True Success.